THAT DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE AT ALL. It was the exact same thing in Cult Fiction (with the same script writer, actually, Jeff Menell). Shawn isn't sure if he believes in God, therefore he has "no beliefs."
Off the top of my head, list of things Maya believes in:
-The power of friendship
-Her mother's perseverance
-The value of art
-As of last week, the power of forgiveness
-Herself, more and more as time goes by.
But no, Riley, the closest friend imaginable, says that Maya doesn't believe in anything. She literally says to her face, "Then why won't you believe in anything?" How can you be so condescending? It seriously bothers me on a personal level. And don't come in here defending it like "Oh she meant 'why don't you believe in God'." She could have very easily just said that if that's what they meant.
They have immediately lost me. Their premise is faulty. Which is weird, since the opening was full of potential. Looking at the differences between Riley and Maya gives us some of the best episodes, and I was hooked on their differing philosophy about finding money on the ground. But... somehow that led us to the belief assignment... I honest to goodness do not understand why they used this opening.
Resulting from the preceding analysis, this episode has received a penalty for "Flagrant Character Assassination" of one "Maya Hart." As such, Girl Meets Belief is ineligible for any grade in the A or B range.
He can't help you now, Riley.
No one can.
QQ, that stands for quick question, WHERE DOES THOMAS JEFFERSON COME IN? Why are Maya and Riley doing a report on Thomas Jefferson when the question was what they personally as individuals believe in? WHAT IS THOMAS JEFFERSON? Does Cory want to know if they believe in Thomas Jefferson? I'm gonna go ahead and guess that they probably do.
They probably believe in Thomas Jefferson.
If the word "flabbergasted" suddenly turned into a person, it would be me. The worst part is that this first classroom scene teases you. Farkle looks like the skeptic and Lucas looks like the guy who just wants to mind his own business with the line "I have beliefs that work for me." I was pleased to see Lucas in that spot, but he unfortunately does not stay there (which is why we were teased), as we'll see later.
As you can see, I'm pulling these screenshots from Glare The Bootleg because there still aren't any high quality links up at 11 EST and I'm tired of waiting.
I'm stealing this observation from Christian because he won't be joining us tonight, but Cory claims that Jefferson died over 200 years ago. That is not true, Cory. Thomas Jefferson died in 1826. You're a terrible teacher, Cory.
At home, it's even worse. Auggie is evidently speaking to someone and doesn't want to explain it to his mother. There are two natural reactions to this, in an episode about believing in God. "Oh Auggie's talking to God, that's cute." Well, no, he's not. You've been tricked. Or "Oh, Auggie's talking to God, that's annoying." Well, no, he's not. You've been tricked.
The only conclusion is that this Auggie story was written with the pure intent of tricking the viewer. But why? Why do that? I don't want to be tricked, I didn't come here to be tricked.
Let's just deal with the entire Auggie story now so I can focus on the main story. It turns out he's talking to Mrs. Svorski, the old bakery owner who probably killed herself. I don't think anyone uses the word "heaven" but he's trying to talk to her in heaven. Maturo really really sucks in this, but you didn't come here to listen to me make fun of a ten year old. Or if you did, hey, leave a comment, I'll try to accommodate you. So instead of bashing this stuff, let's take a big step back and ask a super important question.
'Cause it's not for me. It is not for us diehard BMW fans. It ain't for the people who just watched Bunk'd and it ain't for the people waiting for Austin and Ally to start. It ain't for the Rucas shippers or the Lucaya shippers. And it sure as hell ain't for the people flipping through channels. So who is it for? IS IT FOR THOMAS JEFFERSON, CORY? TOO BAD, HE DIED OVER 500 YEARS AGO.
Is it for the parents? Not my parents, but maybe for somebody's saccharine Leave It To Beaver parents to go "Awwwww Auggie is just the sweet sweetest sweetums boy in the whole widest worldest. Honey let's pop out another one." I sincerely hope that's not it, but who else?
Let's move on.
Okay explain this to me. Sheriff Sean is putting out a bounty on an explanation for this. From Riley, "You can't just pick things up and think that they're yours. You need to believe in something." HOW ARE THOSE TWO RELATED? WHAT! WHAT IS THIS!
This is where Riley says "Why won't you believe in anything?" for those who were wondering.
I really appreciate Farkle carpet bombing Lucas here, basically saying how easy it is to believe in God when your life is as perfect as his. He proceeds to give a perfectly reasonable explanation for Joan of Arc and Lucas actually blows raspberries at it. Who the hell wrote this?
It's incredible that Farkle comments about Cory, after he lets them switch teams, "He's sneaky smart." I'm never going to believe it, writers. Say it as many times as you want, I don't care.
Later, Riley and Lucas are very impressed with Thomas Jefferson, even though we've heard absolutely nothing about him. Allegedly he "never wavered in what he believed," but, like, Hitler didn't waver either. Is there some assumed knowledge about Jefferson here? We've been told a lot about Joan of Arc, we could come in to this episode knowing nothing and be in a good place with Joan of Arc. But they've explained absolutely nothing about how Jefferson is related to this. He was a founding father of the USA, not the pope. He was a politician, not a martyr. WHAT IS THOMAS JEFFERSON? I DON'T UNDERSTAND!
Look at that smug bastard tryin' not to laugh at me. Shut up, Thomas Jefferson.
Maya's an airplane, they're friends again, that scene was a waste of time.
Okay Riley doesn't understand Jefferson either. There's some obvious chemistry here between Maya and Lucas, and I like his comment that this "isn't something you can be pushed into." So why do we have an episode dedicated to Riley pushing Maya into it? It's self defeating, and I'll tell you why. It's because this episode is noncommittal. It (understandably) doesn't want to commit too hard to either side, and in giving reasonable ground to each, the throughline gets jumbled. Don't tell me that you shouldn't push people into it while we watch Riley push someone into it. Just don't do this storyline. You can't commit your series to one side without alienating people, and you can't send a strong message without committing. So don't do the episode.
That's the crux of what I have to say about this episode. It continues in that fashion with each side gaining and giving ground, which is at least understandable, until this despicable moment at the Bay Window.
Lucas: "Can I find out everywhere you've been with just one click?" (No, you can't.)
Lucas, with oppressively smug satisfaction: "God can't do that?"
Cory comes in with his own Gotcha against Farkle. While still annoying, it's at least fairly creative writing, this bit about the world being God "refracted," so to speak, into a spectrum we can comprehend. On a personal level, you either take it or leave it, but I appreciate the creativity.
It's time to wrap things up. Finally we understand what Jefferson is. He wrote the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom that basically explains how religion is a personal choice. Hey, that's great, that's real great. Riley has decided that she won't, after all, push Maya into believing. And, I mean, that's good, but like... I'm kind of disappointed that she needed a legal document to convince her not to be a jerk to her friend. Like if one of my religious friends came up and said "Hey Sean, I've decided not to force my beliefs on you," like, thanks man, wow, that's so considerate.
Farkle has come around on Joan of Arc, for no reason I can understand. He was impassioned about her being delusional in that scene at the bakery. Nothing that he said has been addressed, except of course by Lucas's eloquent raspberry blowing. I'm not saying he's necessarily right, just that the only reason he's changed his mind is to put a neat little bow on the end of this episode. That's frustrating. Stuart Minkus would never have budged.
Maya says something about giving someone else a "$5 journey", it's as nonsensical as everything else about the $5. Yogi finds the $5 and I bet the writers think it's real profound. Look out for "What d0 u think Yogi does with the five dollar journey? Fav and RT #GMW" from the writers' twitter.
Now it seeeeeeeems like we're in an okay place. Don't push your beliefs (or non-beliefs) on other people. That's a good place to be. Aside from the nauseating Gotchas earlier, everyone has been respectful, adamant, and well represented.
But they JUST.
They just couldn't leave Maya alone. We learn in the tag scene that Maya tried praying and Riley explodes in excitement like we just landed a man on Mars or something. It really undercuts what we were trying to do here. I'm going to use Christian's succinct description of this, "The episode was like 'Everyone should be free to believe whatever they want to believe in, but God's the right thing to believe in.' " As always, the worst thing about it is that they could have so easily done it right. If you want Maya to do some "I tried praying, and it was comforting" type thing, then you also should have Riley doing some "I tried not praying, and the world was still beautiful" sort of line. That would have been awesome. Instead we got this "You finally see the truth!" crap.
After the initial penalty, we're down to a maximum C+. After Auggie, the Gotcha lines, and compromising Maya's stance at the end, we're down to about a D. But I stand firmly behind the message in Jefferson's Virginia Statute, so let's move up to a C. I think I'm at a C.
Christian will be here some day. Thanks for reading. There's obviously a lot to talk about and I'm just one guy.
Hey guys. I'm not really going to get a full on review for this one, because I dunno, this is frustrating me. This episode, a lot of the responses, and just in general. I kinda just want to move past this episode and religious arguments this weekend. I didn't like this episode much, and it's for much of the reasons Sean said.
This episode pretended to preach the idea that everyone should believe what they want, but they clearly have an agenda here. I hesitate to call it a pro-Christian agenda, especially since Michael Jacobs himself isn't even Christian, but it's definitely a pro-religion agenda. I don't think a show like this should have a pro-religious agenda. I don't think it should have an anti-religious agenda either. I think that's a serious weighty topic, the people wrap their whole world views in, and I think it's best not to touch on it here. People are not rational when debating this kind of thing. If you look in the comments, though it's been relatively tame, it's still smacked of ugliness. People who can normally discuss issues with a clear head kind of lose themselves, feel as if everything about who they are is being questioned, and lash out. Paris is in turmoil today, for similar reasons. Most people can't have rational debates about this issue, and a Disney Channel show is not the place to try.
It was impossibly one-sided, full of meaningless "Gotcha' lines that are absurd and any idiot could refute. But no one did. Because this was a fucking Christian inspirational movie starring Kirk Cameron. No argument made a lick of sense. It was a dumb episode, and I regard every character in this series a little less for having taken part of it.
It's not horrible. There was okay moments, I don't feel like hashing out what they were. (But one was Cory's screeching of "TOPANGA! I'M LONELY!") But in general, no, bad episode. And boring episode. I don't expect I will ever watch it again. And the next time someone in the comments tries to suggest that science isn't science for everyone, and that people can and ought to pick and choose which science they believe, just like religion, you ain't gonna have Good Cop Sean to deal with. I was busy this weekend, and though I've read almost all the comments, I decided it wasn't worth it to engage. But come on, guys. Don't come in here and say insane things. Science is science. That's why we teach it in public schools. It's objective fact.
I will note that that Cory's incorrect about Thomas Jefferson having been dead for over 200 years. He's been dead for less than 200 years. And Thomas Jefferson was almost certainly an atheist.
You question how Jeff Mennell wrote this episode, Sean, but he wrote Cult Fiction too. This is clearly a thing with him. And this episode is worse than Cult Fiction. Shawn's brief cult flirtation was stupid, but at least that's... a story. There were some stakes. This is just a bunch of boring low-key conversations.
Episode Rating: D+
Episode MVP: Sabrina Carpenter, I guess, but, like, blah.
And yeah, Auggie can die in a fire. I dunno, you need me for anything else? Can this be over?
It WAS low stakes, wasn't it. Just a bunch of talking. I agree, I'll take Cult Fiction every day of the week.
This is now over.